Originally published in CNS News by Alexander Watson, October 16, 2020
(CNS News) — During a press conference held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on Friday, the group revealed that a new center designed to weaponize Iran’s nuclear program has been discovered in the Sorkheh-Hessar region, east of Tehran.
“According to top-secret intelligence obtained by the network inside Iran of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, (PMOI/MEK) from within the regime, SPND has continued its work following the JCPOA,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the U.S. office of the NCRI.
The SPND — Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research — is the office inside Iran’s Ministry of Defense pursuing the nuclear weaponization program.
“The structure and the personnel of SPND remain intact and part of the institution has been expanded,” said Jafarzadeh. “Brigadier Gen. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi continues to remain the head of this organ. Thus, the JCOPA notwithstanding, the Ministry of Defense and the IRGC have maintained their capabilities to build a nuclear weapon.”
The IRGC is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The JCOPA is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal crafted by the Obama-Biden administration with Iran in 2015. It is also commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
“The location of this new site is north of the Khojir site, which is the largest complex manufacturing ballistic missiles for the Hemmat Missile Industry and Bakeri Missile Industry,” said Jafarzadeh. “Tehran has built its new site for SPND in the area of the complexes involved in building missiles, which would also provide a safe cover for its nuclear activities.”
“Our revelation today once again proves the fact that the JCPOA did not prevent the mullahs’ activities to acquire nuclear weapons and even the regime has reneged on its commitments stipulated in the JCPOA,” said Jafarzadeh. “These activities have been since the JCPOA was agreed upon in 2015 and even prior to the U.S. leaving the Iran nuclear deal.”
In response to a question by Arab News, Jafarzaheh stated that, according to the best intelligence at this time, the Iranian regime is anywhere in the range of three to four months away from having the capacity to build a nuclear bomb, particularly in light of the new facility.
“Well, it is very difficult to give a time in how far along they are in building a nuclear bomb, but there is a term that they say, a break-out time, that is a time that it takes the Iran regime to enrich enough uranium, enough fissile material for one bomb, is now shortened,” said the NCRI deputy director.
“It is based on the latest IAEA report,” he added. “The analysis done on that is about three or four months. Much shorter than it was before. And, of course, that is only one part of the requirement for building the bomb.”